Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fest Report: Strong Ale Fest 2015

Strong Ale Fest shockingly focuses on strong ales. I'm just now getting around to writing this review because I'm still hungover. Just kidding. Sorta. This fest is one of the good ones, folks. The people at Beer KC have these fests down to a science at this point. Read below to see the details and what I thought were the best beers of the festival.

Not Beer
Organizationally, the festival is great. From the beginning with checking IDs early to speed up the line, to plenty of porta potties for the eventual urge to pee, things just go well. There's plenty of space for lines to form with Pennsylvania Avenue between McCoy's and Kelly's providing the venue for the festival.

Beer
At $40 for tickets ($50 at the door) this festival is about average for a beer festival. Value is good because the line-up features some nice obscurities. Perennial, for instance, brought 2 beers that hadn't been in the KC market before. You won't find any out of market options, but most of the breweries who bring their A game. Lines are very manageable, and for nearly the entire festival, you beers were available with little to no waiting. There was still tons of delicious beer available when the festival ended, too.

Best in Show
This one wasn't hard for me. Perennial brought their Maman aged in Evan Williams 23 year barrels. Maman (which means mom in French) is the base for Perennial's excellent adjunct stouts, like Abraxas and 17. They throw it in barrels, because who doesn't love a good barrel-aged imperial stout? This variant of Maman was a bit more thin than the regular, but I didn't mind.Honestly, Maman is such a thick beer, that the slightly thinner body might be an improvement. This beer created the only line in the entire festival, and was a good 50 to 75 people long at some points. However, despite the line, in what may be the greatest gift ever given mankind, this beer lasted for just over 2 hours. I might have been responsible for drinking over 20 pours.

The runner up wasn't hard, either. 2nd Shift brought Coffee LSD with Kenyan Karimikui coffee. When pouring at the festival, the beer was only 2 or 3 days old. An already great beer, the addition of coffee makes it fantastic. I need more of this in my life.

Running out of the sought after beers is just a fact of beer festivals. This is a new category I'm adding to highlight some under the radar beers that make it to the end of a festival. For this fest, I was drinking Cinder Block's Imperial Coffee Hop'd with Cocoa Nibs at the buzzer. This imperial brown has a ton of coffee in it. The cocoa is barely noticeable with the amount of coffee, but I'm not complaining. This is a coffee forward beer, and I'll gladly guzzle it down.

Check out a few photos on our Facebook page below.

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